December 14, 2016

Wilderness First Responder workshops planned

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Students as well as outdoor enthusiasts and professionals will want to check out a pair of workshops that Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Touch of Nature Environmental Center is hosting in early 2017.

Both are intensive wilderness medical training events that provide people with the skills and knowledge to be able to handle medical emergencies should they occur when help is too far away or calling 911 isn’t possible. Participants will receive a certificate upon completion of the workshops.

The Wilderness First Responder Certification Course is set for Jan. 3-11, 2017, at Touch of Nature, located about eight miles south of Carbondale on Giant City Road. There will also be an open recertification course Jan. 13-15 allowing those previously certified to renew their certificates. Space is limited for the workshops, so early registration is encouraged.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to cover the Wilderness First Responder Course Jan. 3-11 or the recertification course Jan. 13-15. To arrange a visit to the Touch of Nature Environmental Center, contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-1122, ext. 260, or by email at

Those attending the First Responder Certification Course will learn in fast-paced morning sessions about patient assessment, body systems, trauma, environmental medicine, toxins, back-country medicine, wilderness rescue and other pertinent matters. They will become prepared to handle emergencies involving prolonged patient care, harsh environments and the use of improvised equipment.

Participants will put their knowledge into practice during afternoon/evening sessions with hands-on sessions focusing on everything from constructing a stretcher to a full-scale rescue simulation. Dress appropriately for weather conditions as the outdoor training goes on regardless of the conditions.

The cost is $895, including room and board, or $695 for commuters. The deadline to register is Dec. 23. Upon course completion, participants will receive a three-year certification from Wilderness Medical Associates, the company providing course instruction.

SIU students may also earn three credit hours for completing the class, listed as REC 434 -- Wilderness First Responder. To learn more about obtaining college credit, contact Juliane Poock Wallace, chair of the Department of Kinesiology and interim chair of the Department of Health Education and Recreation, at 618/453-3133 or by email at

The cost for the open recertification course is $395, including room and board, or $315 for those who are commuting. The deadline to register is Jan. 6.

Touch of Nature Environmental Center, SIU’s Health Education and Recreation Department in the College of Education and Human Services, and Wilderness Medical Associates are collaborating to offer the Wilderness First Responder Courses.

Online registration is available at For additional information, contact Erik Oberg at 618/453-1122, ext. 260, or by email at